Mt. Pleasant school board hears how other districts handle virus

MT. PLEASANT — In a report to the Mt. Pleasant Community District School Board, superintendent John Henriksen gave an overview of return-to-learn plans from districts in the Great Prairie Area Education Agency region.

Henriksen said the report provides the board context on how neighboring schools are navigating the pandemic.

In a survey, superintendents answered questions related to changes their districts have made in response to the pandemic. Henriksen noted 31 of the 33 districts responded to the questions.

According to the survey, nearly 68 percent of the districts were requiring masks for staff and faculty. In a question about mask requirements for students, 30 districts responded and 56.7 percent said masks are required for students while 43.3 percent said masks are highly recommended but not required.

The survey included a question about learning models by grade levels. Currently 17 districts have opted for the in-person model for high school students while 14 are in hybrid. 24 districts have elementary students attending in a complete face-to-face model, and 19 districts have middle school students in face-to-face models.

Mt. Pleasant has students of all grade levels in the face-to-face model. The district is requiring masks for staff and students when social distancing cannot be maintained.

During his report, Henriksen went over the Instructional Support Levy which is up for renewal. A public hearing for the levy will be set at the October school board meeting and if the board decides to move forward, the levy, which is made up of income surtax and property tax, would be voted on in November by residents of the county. Henriksen noted the board’s finance committee recommended the levy be set at 10 percent of the previous year’s Regular Program Dollar. The board can “make a final determination (up to 10 percent) at the time of budget certification.”

Henriksen also shared estimates of the Penny Sales Tax revenue. In fiscal year 2020, the district received $1,934,207.52. In the upcoming fiscal year, the district expects to receive $1,841,814.41.

“It’s down not quite $100,000 … I was pleasantly surprised at that. If those funds come in as is estimated, we can do the things that we normally do,” he said.

Following the regular school board meeting, the board held its organizational meeting. Jennifer Crull was reelected as board president, and Chuck Andrew was reelected as vice president.